Archive for November, 2006

Orkut passes myspace, fast growing social network ever.

November 28, 2006

Orkut is a monster,  as I reported a few weeks ago its massive in brazil and India.    Brad explains it best with this alexa chart.

Is yahoo even part of the “new web” ?

The Captcha is dead.

November 26, 2006

As has been widely reported by spammers lately the Captcha seems to be finally dead.    Myspace has been frantically changing their algo’s every couple of days recently but the bot makers are just as fast.

Just look at all the stuff that comes up in google.     From what I am hearing  spammers are gearing up for an all out attack on social networks.   I assume that if myspace doesn’t come up with a response soon  it will decline quickly.  

Its been a long week!

November 26, 2006

If you had asked me last week if i’d get any media attention this week I would have said no.      I still can’t believe I was on the front page  or in nearly every major newspaper in the country.   I was also on national television and a national radio talk show.  

For the singles of this country Plentyoffish is a household name, and it amazed me going on the talk show and hearing so many people calling in saying how they met someone off the site and much higher the quality on Plentyoffish is than any paid dating site.

The other thing that amazes me is i’m becoming some sort of icon in Canada for creating a successful internet business.    In Canada the software industry doesn’t really exist, and I can’t think of a single example of someone starting a successful consumer facing business.   There are no counterparts to bill gates,  facebook founder,  myspace founders, amazon  etc.   I assume the conversations go something like this.  He makes how much???  That is the ugliest site ever  I bet i could make way more then that with my idea.  Each time I get publicity I end up getting a flood of email from people wanting to start their own internet business in canada.

2007 and beyond!

November 22, 2006

Well another year has nearly gone by and the dating industry has changed a lot.

Singlesnet  has come from no where and keeps gaining steam.   I saw it first last year and thought their paid business model was killer and would easily overtake match.com   The site has since then grown in leaps and bounds and should pass Match.com and become the largest paid dating service in terms of number of relationships created in the United States in the next couple of months.

hotornot seems to be coming back from hibernation, and they want to hire people and expand that should be interesting.    The founders seem to have been away from the industry for a little to long judging from this quote.

We met up with James a few weeks ago because we had recently heard about a mobile application that the company had been working on. He says Hot or Not did have a mobile application created, but decided not to release it to the public. “The market is just too early,” he says.

Every time I get pitched by a mobile phone company they say the biggest money maker along with chat/dating  are their hotornot clones.

As for plentyoffish,  We are now the largest dating site in the world as measured by number of relationships created.    Match.com may get 75,000 signups a day  but only 10% of those users can actually use the service.  Match breaks out some of their stats on their chemistry site.   Match.com creates 100,000 relationships a year on 27,375,000 signups.   1 in 137 singles who signup on their site meet someone.     Match.com will earn $320 million this year so that works out to about $3,200 a relationship.   With numbers like that no one can convince me that the paid dating industry is built on a sustainable business model.

The last 2 years has seen the 2nd and third tier dating sites pretty much completely replaced and 2007 will see the first tier sites being replaced.

The Worlds Largest Blog.

November 21, 2006

I was amazed to see that the worlds largest blog is run by one person and has close to 3 million unique visitors per day.    I would be surprised if a blog network like Weblogs Inc with all their blogs combined even came close to that kind of traffic.    Just goes to show you that technorati  is completely useless when trying to measure what the worlds most popular blog is. 

The blog is PerezHilton.com and its a site in the mainstream that follows celebrity gossip in Hollywood.

Myspace creating seeds of its destruction.

November 21, 2006

I was struck by this article on CNN today,  it talks about a cofounder of Paypals new startup Slide.com    The first thing I asked myself is why does a slideshow widget for myspace.com need $20 million in funding.

Turns out there is a lot more to this then just a slideshow.  The company wants to create a recommendation system that will allow anything from dating to price comparison shopping.    Comscore says slide gets about 4 million uniques a month,  from myspace.com

If I was myspace i’d be pretty worried,  you have an entire generation of VC companies being funded growing off the back of myspace.  Once these companies get big they will either get bought out like youtube or begin competing in some way.   There is no VC that is going to sit by and say,  well we have maxed out our myspace traffic lets just sit back and collect profits.

Now if I ran slide.com  I say,  great we have millions of users coming from myspace  but if myspace dies so do we.    I would then say hey,  we are going to create a mini myspace on our site.    We will allow bands to upload up to 5,000 images and audio on our network and only 20 images on our msypace widget.    We will allow people to comment on the photo’s and form social networks around bands.     This site would have nothing but photo albums about bands and a search facility to allow you to search for your favorite bands.    Of course you could also listen to bands music as you browse their albums.  This kind of site would explode and really hurt myspace.

Myspace today is like Match.com of a few years ago.  Match.com used to be the king of online dating.  Now niche sites of every kind are popping up and match.com doesn’t even really compete with sites for jewish singles, black dating etc and the attacks across all niches are increasing every year.    Myspace.com  is feeding many sites traffic via widgets that cater to niche audiences and those sites will end up becoming mega sites that will compete with myspace. 

Looking For Developers.

November 20, 2006

A startup I cofounded is looking for more developers.   Hopefully we will change the non profit world as much as i’ve changed the dating world.   We need some good developers!

http://thesocialcorp.com/jobs.html

- Expertise in PHP (and Smarty), HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (AJAX)
- Strong knowledge of MySQL and general query optimization

Hardware Sensitive Business models

November 20, 2006

Businesses like Ebay, Search and  Online Dating are all businesses that are not very good from a technology standpoint.   These companies face huge issues because they involve searching and sorting of data.   The more data you get into your system the time to search it grows expotentially.  

You can visualize this by thinking of an excel spread sheet.  If you have a list of a million products all you wanted to find all the ones in blue,  you would have to search each row to see if one is blue.   As the database gets bigger this requires more and more searching.  
This translates into  having millions of computers in the case of google,   17,000 for Ebay and a 1000 servers for a company like match.com.

There have been many many companies in the online dating space that have tried to make a business out of free over the years  but they have all failed and continue to fail.   People forget that as a site grows into the millions of users, the hardware requirements grow expotentially.  This results in the Cost of generating a pageview to skyrocket.   At the same time the revenue per pageview descreases as people start to use the system for fun and their pageviews per session increase.   

Most of the largest dating sites are spending over 1 million a month on hardware and tech staff to keep it running.  The only reason my site is still in business and works so well is because i’ve found a way to solve the technical side of the problem.

Social networking for the most part doesn’t make use of ranged searches.   A profile lookup by ID or username is like looking up row 1000 in a excel spread sheet.  You don’t have to search all the items in the database to figure out what you are looking for, you just want a specific row.    Friendster on the other hand did a search of friends of friends.   This increased the over all computing power needed to keep the site operational expotentially and killed them off.     Myspace on the other hand stripped out everything that would require ranged searches and it became really easy for them to win.

So if you want to make a business that scales really well,  try and make one that avoids searching and ranged searches.

How I helped capture one of America’s most wanted fugitives

November 19, 2006

With in 10 minutes of being emailed by the US Marshel service on Saturday night I was able to give them nearly all the information they needed to take down one of the most sought after fugitives in the united states.     I will leave the details of the capture for national television.

Myspace Presentation

November 14, 2006

If you look 27 minutes into this keynote you will see presentation from the myspace CTO.

http://sessions.mix06.com/view.asp?pid=KYN001

When they had 65 million users,  250 servers were used to just serve up the homepage.
Myspace had 45  .net developers,  also some cool stuff on what they are going to do in vista and the .net Ajax framework


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